Jeff Johnson: Music, cake and whiskey | Local Color

Jeff Johnson: Music, cake and whiskey

Follow this native Durhamite around, and you'll quickly learn he is attracted to things that are sweet. Often, that's a sip of smooth whiskey, a piece of cake or, admittedly, a little eye candy. "If you're a pretty lady, and you have cake and whiskey, you can sway me," said Johnson, often recognizable from a distance because of that gray driver's cap he wears on nearly every outing. It belonged to his late father.

Johnson, 33, stays busy working two jobs. By day, he's a music monger, managing Offbeat Music at Brightleaf Square, where he has worked since it opened almost six years ago. Most nights, he's behind the bar at Whiskey, mixing up rounds of one of the bar's signature drink, the Old Fashioned. When he's not working, you'll spot Johnson downtown or at any number of parties he's famous for throwing at spots like Club 9 and even the Wheelz roller rink.

Wednesday, May 26

9:30 a.m. Walked from work to Parker and Otis, 112 S. Duke St., Durham

As one who always tries to eat breakfast, I missed a chance to eat before I left home. So my backup is always the P and O. I had scrambled eggs with Black Forest ham, white cheddar cheese, asparagus and sourdough toast. I also picked up an orange-flavored San Pellegrino carbonated water, which I am now addicted to.

7:30 p.m. Walked to Bull McCabes Irish Pub, 427 W. Main St., Durham

As someone who hates the idea of playing trivia in a bar (these places are meant for relaxing and drinking), I find myself returning almost every week. The food is always great. I had one of my new faves, a veggie burger. I eat meat, but this thing has made me like it almost as much as its meat brother. I do, however, tweak mine a little by adding crispy bacon.

Thursday, May 27

Noon Drove to the Chicken Hut, 3019 Fayetteville St., Durham

I wanted chicken (the black man's curse), so I went to Chicken Hut. They have a great lunch line with everything a true soul food connoisseur wants: greens, yams, and of course, fried chicken. (Dear Heart: I still love you.)

10 p.m. Drove to Whiskey, 347 W. Main St., Durham

I like jazz—especially straight-ahead jazz—and even if I wasn't working the bar, I would still come to Whiskey for jazz night. The band is the Brian Horton Trio. Brian is an accomplished jazz trumpeter and also a professor at NCCU. He usually brings a lot of his students to sit in as guest musicians. This always keeps a fresh crop of people coming through. Usually they start cooking at 10 p.m. and don't cool off until 1:30 a.m. It's about the best jazz night in town. It also brings out the lovely ladies.

Friday, May 28

11 a.m. Drove to Harris Teeter, 1125 W. N.C. Hwy 54 in the Hope Valley Commons shopping center

After a late night of working, I need to refuel. I decided this morning I would make my own food, but when I looked in the fridge there was nothing to be had. So I'm off to the grocery store. I like this Teeter the best because it's clean and not too overly priced. Also, there are always lovely ladies that shop here. Which can translate into an interesting meat market (no pun intended).

Saturday, May 29

2 p.m. Drove to Bull City Records, 1916 Perry St., Durham

Everyone who knows me knows I like music. Even though I work at a music store, I still can't get enough of it. So usually on Saturdays I go pay a visit to Chaz [Martenstein, owner of Bull City Records]. Sometimes just to pick his brain about music—but I always seem to walk out with something.

2:30 p.m. Walked to Ox & Rabbit, 732 Ninth St., Durham

I have a definite sweet tooth. I know some folks that stand by Locopops or LoYo [Local Yogurt], but for me there's no better place to feed this habit than at the Ox. They have the best milkshakes and sodas around. Plus, Ninth Street on a sunny Saturday is the ideal place to watch the lovely ladies pass by.

3:30 p.m. Drove to work at Offbeat Music, 905 W. Main St., Durham

I always have to end up here. Music rules my life. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, May 30

1 p.m. Drove to Piedmont Restaurant, 401 Foster St., Durham

Hooked up with some friends who were already here. I haven't been here for brunch in a while, but I must say, I was very impressed. They had live music, which added a great touch to the already great food. Plus, the bar and the drinks were top-notch.

Monday, May 31

1 p.m. Drove to the Streets at Southpoint, 6910 Fayetteville Road, Durham

I wish I could say there were a ton of boutique stores around here for guys, but as we all know, it's all about the ladies for now. So, the way that I stay so fly (other than taking shopping trips out of town) is by going to the dreaded mall. A necessary evil in my book. With all the great stores to choose from, I don't know why so many Durham guys don't dress better.

5 p.m. Drove to Beyú Caffé, 335 W. Main St., Durham

What can I say. I like cake. This place, along with Blue Coffee, has some of the best cakes in town. I really go here almost every day.

Tuesday, June 1

Spent the day at home recovering from the weekend.

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